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By LISA SCARBOROUGH
In July, my husband and I traveled up to Anchor Point near Homer to collect our new puppy. She was then a 7-week-old Red Siberian Husky. She is strong willed, stubborn and sweet. I had forgotten how difficult it can be to train a puppy, it has been 10 years since I have gone through this experience and, of course, it is amazing what you can forget in 10 years!
Our family is also dealing with the heart failure of one of our family members. He is only 38 years old, but is currently in the critical care unit of a hospital waiting on a heart transplant which will only happen if he is healthy enough to endure that procedure when a heart becomes available.
Life is challenging at the best of times when things are normal and going along smoothly. But, when difficult things are happening, it is really hard to stay the course.
Paul says in Romans 5:1-5 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
This is our encouragement to stay the course. God promises that we will grow and develop godly character and receive hope through the process.
But what does it mean to stay the course or to persevere? I believe that when difficult situations come along, the Lord expects us to lean into him, give him our sorrow, hurt, anger and needs into his care through prayer. And then to continue on knowing that he knows best what to do.
Along that way we explore training ideas for our puppy, what works and doesn’t work, how best to encourage her to do what we want her to do as she grows into adulthood. Strive to be patient and repetitive, giving her the same commands at all times.
In our family member’s case, we listen to the doctors and technicians who are running him through continual tests. We encourage him when he is too weak to breathe on his own or eat. His body is struggling each day to get a little better when last week we were told he was dying. We believe that God jump started his kidneys. Due to his heart’s inability to work at more than 20%, they had shut down along with his liver. And because he is doing better we have hope that he will survive to live on.
I know that these are two very different situations, one is really not especially important except to my daily peace of mind and Nika’s life span, HA! The second is life threatening and has the potential to devastate my family and their friends.
For me, having a personal relationship with the Lord is the most important thing in order to persevere. Life’s situations do not always turn out the way we want. Our loved one may not be able to hold out or become healthy enough to even endure a heart transplant. At this time we are just persevering in our hope and prayers each day. As hard as it can be to hear it, God know’s best in every situation.
Staying the course also means walking and talking about every situation in love, respect, faith, encouragement and self-control. Perseverance can only build godly character through the fruits of the spirit. So what ever happens He calls us to persevere because even if a situation does not come out the way we hope and pray it will we have developed Godly character along the way.
I hope that you will seek the source of all encompassing love and hope through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. It only takes a moment to accept his gift of eternal Salvation. Which is the greatest hope of all.
Lisa Scarborough is executive director of Love In Action, Ketchikan.
Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.